This is a short list of MIS-associated fiction and nonfiction that I made up for my students and have decided deserves a page of its own. I will update semi-irregularly.
Keep in mind that these are books about how the system works, not about specific systems, so the fact that some of them are over 30 years old doesn’t matter. Some are available online in .pdf format. The first three are descriptive. The rest, more textbook-like.
The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage, Clifford Stoll, 1989
A classic description of how a 75 cent error in a computer use charge ended with the breakup of an East German spy ring.
Soul of a New Machine, Tracy Kidder, 1981
What it’s like in the trenches
Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date, Robert X. Cringely, 1992
The early days in Silicon Valley
Death March, Edward Yourdon, 2003
More life in the trenches
Mythical Man-Month, Frederick Brooks, 1975, 1995
Managing software development
Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, Peter Checkland, 1979, 1999
Soft systems approach.
Multiple Perspectives for Decision Making, Hal Linstone, 1984
Technical, organizational, personal.
The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge, 1990
The Jargon File, Eric S. Raymond (ESR), et al. 2003
AKA, The Hackers Dictionary. a serious dictionary, maintained online at:
Go for the words, stay for the descriptions of hacker culture.
Just a few of the classics.
Shockwave Rider, John Brunner, 1975
The SF novel that defined the idea of a computer worm
Neuromancer, William Gibson, 1984
The SF novel that defined cyberspace
Also: Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive
Snow Crash, Niel Stephenson, 1992
The SF novel that defined Second Life.
Diamond Age, Niel Stephenson, 1995
Ubiquitous computing and nanomachines.
Can’t do it the way he thought, because a carbon cloud is explosive.
Cryptonomicon, Niel Stephenson, 1999
SF/Historical. A good take on what data centers might be like tomorrow, combined with a pretty good fictionalized history of computers and cryptology in WWII.
Overclocked, Cory Doctorow, 2007
Short stories. Not written in a balloon, no matter what XKCD says.
see also the series beginning here (and what’s _your_ daughter done recently?):
…and speaking of daughters, here’s Girl Genius. It’s steampunk and not cyber, but who cares? It’s working on Vol 7 right now, but you need to start at the beginning, before they invented color:
or you could read a short story
(but stop on page 7 or you will drop into the main storyline and be beset by spoilers)
Or, if that’s too girly for you, try Megatokyo. Two gamers in Japan. It’s joke-of-the-day up until about strip number 100 or so, and then it gets a plot. They are on strip 1200 now.